Last season: 8-4 (4-3 in District 7-5A)
Key players: OL Nick Gerhard (6-5, 280), C Ryan Peschka (6-2, 290), WR Myron Gailliard (5-9, 165), CB Nate Jones (5-9, 175), Kegan Edwards (5-9, 175)
The big picture: A coach might panic a season after losing two Division I talents such as Brandon Simmons and Ed Paris. Mansfield Timberview coach James Brown has been able to rest much easier over the off-season, though, returning nine starters on offense and five on defense. And the returners endured two years in arguably the state’s toughest district (7-5A) with state champion caliber schools such as DeSoto and Cedar Hill. Now, with the majority of the state’s 5A teams moving to 6A, Timberview is staying in 5A and begins 2014 at No. 10 in The Associated Press state poll. The strength of Timberview’s team will be the offensive line, where the Wolves return four of five starters. A nice way to reset is the read-option style offense that Timberview has preferred to run. The offense’s top weapon is SMU commitment Myron Gailliard, who will line up not only at slot receiver, but also anywhere he can easily get the ball. The senior caught 21 passes for 269 yards and two touchdowns last season. He ran for 375 yards and three touchdowns on 67 carries. On defense, the secondary will again lead the squad under the leadership of Jones and Edwards, who started alongside Simmons and Paris last season.
Quotable: “I think there is a target on our back mainly because we’re the new guys on the block. We’re the new team coming into the district and everybody is kind of familiar with one another and not really familiar with us.” — coach James Brown
Notable: The last time Timberview was in the state’s second-highest classification was the 2009-2010 season when it resided in District 8-4A.